Latin Catholic by birth, Byzantine Catholic by the grace of God.
Pro: Restoration of the Holy and Universal Christian Roman Empire.
Caveat: The author makes no claim to being an exemplar of Catholicism or Monarchism (or blogging).
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Location: Upstate, New York, United States

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Church naming and creativity

Just about every church in my area is named St. Mary's. Now, while no human being is more deserving of the honor of having a church named for her, and setting aside the occasional conversational confusion it brings about, this custom shows little imagination.

Now, New York's patron saint is Our Lady, help of Christians, but never have I seen this name. Further, the USA's patron is The Immaculate Conception of Mary and Our Lady of Victory, which I have both seen, thankfully, but also Our Lady of Milk and Happy Delivery. Okay, that would make for a silly parish.

Mary's universality is the meat of the problem. While all saints in some sense belong to the whole Catholic Church, Mary in her primary role as the Mother of God and intercessor remove the aesthetic particularity of the parish name. Churches named for St. Cyril, St. George, St. Joan, or St. Kazimir give you an immediate idea of the history of the parish. It gives the priest and parishioners several opportunities to express their faith with local flavor, from choice of stained glass and statuary to celebrations on the saint's feast day.

Further, cities with a heavy population of certain occupations could find inspiration in St. Joseph or St. Isidore, to name just two examples.

Any of these ideas add to the fullness of the faith by providing that much more education for the faithful in Catholic history and culture.

Blessed Virgin Mary, please pray for us.

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